Sony Xperia Z3 Review: Great Battery. Not Waterproof.

My review of the Sony Xperia Z3 has been plagued by issues. Now on my third device, issues relating to the display and waterproofing have meant it’s taken me 2 months to finally complete my in-depth review.

Sony Xperia Z3
Sony Xperia Z3

As with all of my reviews, I take the time to fully understand how a device works. If I’m going to offer an opinion – it had better be an educated one! So if there is an issue with a device, I’m not going to simply ignore it or move past it. When I purchased my first Z3, I was immediately disappointed by a significant blue-tint to the display’s colour temperature. I understood from other sources that the Z3 was known for having a ‘cool’ hue, but I could only describe my Z3 as being closer to ‘ice cold’.

I was right; sort of. I obtained a replacement Z3 and was pleasantly surprised at how much more neutral the colour temp was. I compared both devices and there was a visible difference between them. So, the good news was now I had a better looking phone. The bad news? How many other people suffer from a similar, or even worse issue and simply live with it. Such a colour shift between two otherwise identical devices raise serious questions about manufacturing quality.

My second Z3 still lacked a colourful, punchy display. It was an improvement upon the first but still very much suffered from a cool colour temperature. It still had a sharp and incredibly bright display – just a bit bland. This issue resolved –  I moved on to another aspect of my testing, it’s IP65 and 68 dust and water-proofing.

According to Sony:

In compliance with IP65 and IP68, the Xperia Z3 is protected against the ingress of dust and is waterproof. Provided that all ports and covers are firmly closed, the phone is (i) dust tight and (ii) protected against low-pressure jets of water from all practicable directions in compliance with IP65; and/or (iii) can be kept under 1.5 m of fresh water for up to 30 minutes in compliance with IP68.

Sony’s claims go beyond mere water-resistance offered by competing products such as the Samsung Galaxy S5. It’s a key feature of the device and so I put it to the test.

Unfortunately, it did not go well. Having ensured all flaps were firmly closed, I gently placed the Z3 in a bowl of water, no more than 5 inches deep, and left it for a few minutes.

Sony Xperia Z3 'Waterproof' Test
‘Waterproof’ Test

The water was affecting the screen to some extent with the device opening and closing apps at random but it was nothing serious. I removed the phone, dried it with paper towels and began writing some notes on the result of the test.

A few minutes later, the screen started to periodically turn on and off without any input. Within an hour, the screen would not turn on at all. I attempted a hard-reset of the phone, ensured it was well charged and attempted to dry it further. To my amazement the phone was not dead; my alarm went off! Just the sound though – the screen didn’t turn on.

While examining the phone more closely to check for any obvious signs of water ingress – there was an audible ‘fizzing’ coming from inside. That can’t be good. I presumed the device wasn’t completely dead, just the display had been affected by the water somehow – but that was enough for me to need a third Z3 to continue with my review.

Isolated incidents perhaps? Well, according to numerous news sites and forums – the issue is more common than I thought.

The Sony Xperia Z3 is a good phone.

I genuinely like it – I’ve found myself admiring it’s sophisticated glass design for no other reason than it is genuinely nice to look at. It includes 3GB of RAM alongside a Snapdragon 801 processor which ensures a silky smooth user experience and the battery performance is unrivalled – truly market leading. Aside from a disappointing camera and issues relating to the PS4 Remote play, it’s a generally good phone that I have enjoyed using but I’m not convinced the issues I suffered with are isolated. As such it’s with regret I cannot recommend the Sony Xperia Z3 for anyone in the market for a new smartphone.

For my full review of the Z3, check out my YouTube video below. I would love to hear your thoughts so please leave a comment and if you enjoy my videos please like and subscribe!

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